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Matt Cardona on his WWE run: "At one point I was in the top three merch sellers, and then all of a sudden, boom, it’s over"

All Elite Wrestling

All Elite Wrestling

Former WWE star Matt Cardona (Zack Ryder) was interviewed on David Penzer's "Sitting Ringside" podcast.

Cardona talks about his friendship with Brian Myers (Curt Hawkins), the birth of The Edgeheads, working with people like Edge, Kane, John Cena, Eve Torres, Cody Rhodes, and others. He also talks about the creation of "Z! True Lond Island Story" and how it got him over with fans. He also talks about why he joined Impact Wrestling.

Here are some highlights:

Cardona was asked if it was easy to keep a friendship like the one he has with Curt Hawkins:

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“Trust me, there have been times when we were not best friends. We would be together literally every day. When you’re on the road, you’re on the road a lot. At least you go home to your family. We were on the road at one point and when we went home to our family, we would be going home to each other. We lived together. It was 24/7. It was too much. Then when we broke up as a team, it was the best thing for us because it was like a married couple 24/7. I never got him out of my sight. We would stay in the same hotel rooms. We lived in the same apartment. It was too much.”

Cardona was asked if WWE gave him any issues from doing his Youtube show:

“I had this idea to do a Youtube show. I wasn’t the first person to have a Youtube show. WWE had some WWE.com videos like Miz and Morrison had The Dirt Sheet. Cabana even had something as well as Santino, but those were all produced and edited by WWE. Sure the guys had some creative input, but at the end of the day, John Morrison gets to go home and the guys in Stamford were editing this thing. This was all me. I wrote it. I filmed it. I edited it. The production quality is the s**ts. It’s horrible, but it was the content that stuck with people. I wasn’t being bitter and complaining that I didn’t have a spot. I was doing it in funny ways. The momentum started picking up and the momentum started rolling. The fans started chanting my name, bringing signs and buying my merch. I wasn’t even on TV. At first, I don’t even think the WWE either, A, knew what it was, or B, gave a damn, but after a couple months, it was hard to ignore.”

Cardona was asked if he needed to get permission to do this web series:

“Hell no. My mindset at the time was, I was either going to get noticed, or I’m going to get fired. But, I would have buzz either way. Of course, I didn’t want to get fired. I wanted to be in WWE. But if I did get fired, it would be like, ‘Oh my God. WWE tried to fire this guy for trying to go out on his own.’ Boom, buzz. I could go anywhere so I just wanted the buzz one way or another. I was pushing the envelope even more on the show. WWE took notice and wanted me to move the show to WWE.com and I don’t know why, but I had the balls to say, ‘No way. WWE.com is not cool. Youtube is cool. I’m doing this all by myself. I’m not stopping it. I’m not moving it to WWE.com. Eventually, I did get put on TV and I was doing some cool stuff. I was doing some stuff with Hugh Jackman, one of the biggest movie stars in the world. I won the United States Title. I did a run-in in Madison Square Garden and the whole building was chanting my name. I’m in a storyline with John Cena, the biggest name in the company. I thought, ‘This is working. It’s finally working.’ At one point I was in the top three merch sellers, and then all of a sudden, boom, it’s over.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Sitting Ringside with David Penzer with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription